ALABAMA — The staff at the student newspaper at Auburn University has reported to local law enforcement that more than 1,000 copies of Thursday’s issue were stolen from seven locations on campus — a loss of nearly $800 for the news organization.
The newspapers were stolen from seven different locations on campus, including from five areas in the Student Center, sometime between 8:30 and 10 a.m. Thursday, The Auburn Plainsman reported. Reported to the Auburn Police Division, the incident has been turned over to the Auburn University Department of Public Safety and Security.
Plainsman Editor-in-Chief Becky Hardy said the newspaper’s adviser noticed copies missing from bins at about 10 a.m. Staff initially believed about 800 newspapers were stolen, but that number, as well as number of locations, has since increased.
“I felt confused and a little angry at first because I realized we didn’t have enough papers to restock some areas of campus,” Hardy said.
Editors suspect any of three stories in the newspaper could have prompted the theft, Hardy said. The first is an editorial on Page A6 titled “SGA puts the brakes on security,” which Hardy said concerns the Student Government Association, parking services and public safety that didn’t portray the SGA in “the best light.”
The second story is about a council member who lost an election and claimed voter fraud, which ran on the front page.
“One of his supporters got into a fight, so we have pictures of that,” Hardy said.
The Crime Reports, a regular feature in the newspaper, could have also led to the thefts, Hardy said.
“It could have been a student who didn’t like seeing their name in the paper under a DUI or something like that,” Hardy said.
Public Safety will look over security tapes of the areas in question, which could take as long as Tuesday to report back to The Plainsman, given the upcoming football game that a portion of the Public Safety staff will be handling, Hardy said.
The Plainsman lost approximately $765 from the stolen issues, Hardy said. Although The Plainsman is free to the public, there are still costs that go into producing and distributing the print product, as described in the Student Press Law Center’s “Newspaper Theft Forum.”
Contact SPLC staff writer Michael Bragg by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 119.